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Tampa Bay Lightning owner launches Vinik Sports Group

Jeff Vinik, chairman and governor of the Tampa Bay Lightning, has launched a new sports and entertainment firm that will serve as the parent company of the NHL ice hockey franchise and the lease-holding entity for the team’s Amalie Arena.

Vinik Sports Group (VSG) also becomes the umbrella brand for three new businesses: VSG Commercial Sales, VSG Facilities and VSG Live.

The Lightning said VSG will be marketed locally and regionally as a company that can “assist other companies with facility management, live event creation and execution, partnership development and ticket sales”. A dedicated website for the new company has launched and the organisation will use the #VinikSportsGroup hashtag across its social channels.

VSG Commercial Sales will look to drive revenue for businesses by leveraging experienced partnerships and ticketing teams backed by consumer marketing and analytics. It will handle all tickets, suites and partnerships sales for the Lightning and will also oversee multimedia rights for the University of South Florida’s athletics department and digital media company The Identity Tampa Bay. The division will be led by chief marketing and revenue officer Jarrod Dillon.

VSG Facilities will oversee front-of-house and back-of-house services. It manages and operates Amalie Arena, Yuengling Center on the University of South Florida campus and Embarc Collective, a local non-profit that helps startup companies.

VSG Live will offer full-service event management expertise for live event experiences throughout Tampa Bay. It will manage all events at Amalie Arena and Yuengling Center and has also reached an agreement with the Tampa Sports Authority to serve as a ticketing solution for select events at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL team. The division will be led by executive vice-president Kevin Preast.

Vinik said: “I am pleased to move our organisation forward in this exciting new direction. We have a wonderfully talented leadership team that has worked well with our dedicated staff to transform the Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena and our related businesses. We look forward to sharing our expertise in the industry with others that share our values while they look to grow their businesses and the relationships with those that they serve.”

Strategic Property Partners – the development company created with Cascade Investment to focus on Water Street Tampa – and Vinik Family Office will remain separate entities.

Amalie Arena has served as the Lightning’s home since opening in 1996. Vinik bought the Lightning in 2010.

Image: Tampa Bay Lightning